A Guide To Winterizing Your Home In Silver Spring
Here are some numbers that will give Silver Spring homeowners chills as winter looms. Last winter, Montgomery County households that heated with natural gas spent an average $644 per month on energy. Those using electricity spent more: $1,181. Propane was even more: $1,528.
Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of cash. It’s money better spent on fun stuff – dinner dates, movies, or a trip to the Tropics!
But there are several low-cost steps you can take to winterize your home and reduce your heating bills. Here are a few good ones recommended by the feds:
- Adjust the temperature inside your house. When home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Consider a programmable thermostat to make adjustments for times you’re away.
- Winterize your windows. Open your curtains on south-facing windows during the day to naturally heat your home. Close them at night to reduce the chill. Put up heavy-duty, clear plastic sheeting on the inside of your window frames.Caulking needs to be replaced periodically, so check every fall for holes – inside and out.
- Be an air-leak detective. Install foam insulation gaskets around your electrical outlets. Seal leaks around utility pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings. Check unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Use caulk and weatherstripping.
- Maintain Your Heating Systems. It’s smart to invest in a regular service. Replace your filters once a month or as needed. Consider buying a water heater blanket for around $20 at the hardware store.
· Don’t ignore the fireplace. Glass doors are effective energy savers. Close the damper unless a fire is burning. Check for air coming in when it's closed. If you don’t use your fireplace, consider a chimney balloon.
· Lower Water Heating Costs. Reduce your heater temp to the warm setting (120°F). That’s the temperature recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Tighten seals on doors that go outside. If you can see light around the edges of your doors, you need new weatherstripping. Add a door sweep to each exterior door.
- Transition your lights to LEDs– even the holiday decorations! Look for Energy Star holiday light strings.
- Make sure ceiling fans run clockwise to push warm air down. Don’t let furniture block your vents. Shut the door on rooms you don’t use.
Meanwhile, while you’re thinking about which steps to take first, I recommend pulling out that favorite sweater. Make a big pot of homemade soup. And my personal favorite: add a blanket to your bed and curl up with a book!